It turned cold over the last few days. Not bitter, winter cold, but relatively cold with lows down in the mid 30s. This morning it was below freezing for the first time this fall and the forecast is for more of the same. In the sus this afternoon it was pleasant enough if you’re like me and prefer cool weather to hot. The insects are starting to be less in evidence and Cathy was actually looking for dead insects in the yard to send to a friend (it’s probably just about as weird as it sounds). She found a carpenter bee and I took pictures of it before making sure it was dead with a little chloroform in a jar. I also took pictures of holly berries on the tree at the corner of our house. Then I spotted this milk weed seed on the top of a drying Verbena bonariensis stem and decided that’s what I’d use for today’s photo.
Tagged With: Milkweed
Asclepias incarnata ‘Ice Ballet’
We’re big fans of Asclepias and have three species growing in our garden. We have a few varieties of Asclepias curassavica, a tender perennial native to the Caribbean and Central and South America often referred to as blood flower. We have several Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed, a hardy perennial native to our region. We just bought a few plants of a variety of Asclepias incarnata called ‘Ice Ballet’. The species is generally pale pink but this variety is a creamy white. It’s also a native to the area and is known as swamp milkweed. These will go in a spot that gets very wet when it rains, as these don’t mind that and there are a lot of things that won’t grow there.
Tiger Swallowtail on Milkweed
I stopped at the Croyden Creak Nature Center again this afternoon. I took a picture of Joe Pye weed here two weeks ago (see Wednesday, June 16, 2021) and wanted to see if it had started to bloom. It really hadn’t but it’s getting close. I walked around and took a few pictures, anyway, including a few of this eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus) enjoying the swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). There was also a nice buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) in bloom. It has spherical clusters of tiny flowers that like little pincushions.
We took a nice walk in Redgate Park today. The fall color has started but it isn’t really in full ‘bloom’ yet. I did get some nice photos of Carolina horsenettle (Solanum carolinense), American sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) leaves which were a deep purple-red, and some pretty, peeling birch bark. Of course there were a few general scenery photos. We saw a heron at one of the ponds but were not anywhere near close enough to get a worthwhile photo and I wasn’t carrying my new, long lens. I got some photos of non-native and invasive plants, as well. These included the dreaded mile-a-minute vine (Persicaria perfoliata), Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii), which is found throughout our woods, and porcelain berry (Ampelopsis glandulosa var. brevipedunculata), an Asian vine in the same family as the grape. The milkweed pods in this photo, probably (Asclepias syriaca), were really nice, though, so I thought I’d go with them for the walk’s featured photo.